While 2020 has been a tumultuous year for many businesses across the globe, it has also provided opportunities for others to grow and expand their reach. One of the largest examples of this is seen with Zoom. Zoom has become a software juggernaut right before our eyes, growing exponentially in just a few month’s time. In fact, Zoom has grown its daily user count from a previous high of 10 million in December of 2019 to more than 200 million daily users in March of 2020. This growth has been built primarily out of necessity as the COVID-19 pandemic changed the dynamic for professionals in the workplace, students in the classroom, and most individuals with their friends and loved ones .
With the combination of Zoom’s rise and the many security concerns associated with the company, we at PlexTrac figured that tips for maximizing your security on the software would be beneficial to readers. If everyone is going to be on Zoom calls for the foreseeable future, it would be good to have some direction on how to minimize security risks while using the platform. Below you can find these tips and an explanation for how to institute them.
General security tips and regulations form a strong foundation for a secure Zoom experience. The most important foundational tips we suggest include creating a unique and “strong” password, and enabling multi factor authentication for your Zoom account.
A “strong” password is defined by these three important factors:
By following these three elements of password creation your account is already its way being secure. On top of using a complex password, it is vital to enable multifactor authentication. Enabling multifactor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account to ensure that even if a hacker cracks one layer of security they’ll have to work to crack the other.
Forbes suggests that you ditch the Zoom App and use the web client instead. While Zoom’s web client doesn’t have the cleanest record in the world, more effort has been made to secure this version of the platform when rivaled with the software application. Zoom has been quick to fix major problems with the web client, such as the ability for hackers to make calls without their consent, or the ability for hackers to access the camera and audio of your device. While the vast majority of these issues have been patched and have turned into old news for consumers, the application version of Zoom remains vulnerable to many attacks.
The best way we can describe the web client version of Zoom is as “sitting in a sandbox” in your browser. Sure, this browser can be exposed to dangerous web attacks, but the client remains without many of the security permissions the application version of Zoom has on your computer. This controlled environment limits the ability for attacks to do damage, steal data, and make their money. For these reasons we reccomend sticking to the web client version of Zoom whenever possible.
“Zoombombing” is a new phrase coined to describe trolls that infiltrate and continue to sabotage Zoom meetings with offensive and inappropriate content. Maximize your defenses to these Zoombomb attacks by always requiring the previously mentioned “strong” password for all meetings. In addition to this, invite only necessary personnel to your meetings. The more invites you send out to unique email addresses, the higher the likelihood that someone nefarious gets their hands on the password and ruins the party.
In recent months Zoom has come under fire for their limited security protocols. One of the most heavily scrutinized was the lack of password requirements for Zoom meetings. While not all Zoom meetings require passwords, Zoom has instituted this to be the default setting for meetings. Leave that “requires password” box checked and use a password that is not both complex and not easily guessable. This will ensure that your meeting stays secure and uninterrupted by unwanted guests.
Something every person with a Zoom account should do is comb through their settings to maximize their security level. One wrong setting can leave your account and meetings vulnerable to compromise. With this being said, here are some of the key settings to keep an eye out for:
Note that these aren’t the only important settings on the platform, but rather are a few we wanted to highlight. Additionally, we recommend taking the time to go through each setting on Zoom and tweak it to your account’s personal needs.
Zoom has quickly become a mainstay of both the workplace and the classroom. This is a trend that we don’t see going away any time soon. Additionally, this new “norm” will include an enormous up-tick in remote working environments (Click here for tips on how to maintain cybersecurity while working from these remote locations). This is a shift that many professionals saw coming in the future. However, the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly brought the future of the workplace to us out of necessity instead of innovation.
With all of this in mind, stay safe on Zoom and the many other online platforms out there, and work to maximize your security in any way you can.